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Five recommendations from Time Out readers

Posted at 6:30 pm, September 10, 2013 in Arts & Entertainment

Don’t just take our word for what’s good in London – here are five recent reviews from our readers.

Jon Bradfield insists you visit Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum:

‘Easily the most lucid and extensive, and certainly the most humane of the BM’s Reading Room exhibitions that I’ve seen. Just as the museum’s mummies are one of their most famous draws because the death fascination factor, my own association with Pompeii is the body-shaped holes left in stone and ash that resulted from the fierce sudden heat of a volcanic eruption. But the terrible magic of the eruption is that it preserved a snapshot. Yes, there are casts of bodies (including, early, a dog) but it’s the details of daily life that make this such a rich and moving walk-through. With each room themed on the room of a typical, if large roman house, we explore the public and private lives through a bedroom (servants on hand watch and join in with your lovemaking), kitchen (strange how seeing a preserved loaf of ordinary-looking bread can connect you so powerfully to the past) and other spaces. I found very provocative the comparison the show makes between the slaves of the time and with our own domestic workers, in terms of the way it made me reappraise how we view our “cruel” ancestors.’


Addyson Pope sort-of liked Flesh & Buns, Covent Garden:

‘The foodie rumour mill around chef Ross Shonhan’s second venture promised a Japanese izakaya style venue dishing up steamed hirata and specialised sakes. In English? A pub, serving meat in a bun and plenty of booze. If you’re a hirata virgin, these are Chinese-style baps, stuffed with a fleshy filling and packed with pickles or salad.

Once seated, we opted for the braised pork belly with mustard miso with a superbly sweet glaze offset and pickled apple. But the grilled seabass with tomato salsa was lost between the thick buns and tasted bland. My advice? Stick to the meat: steak, duck or chicken. Also the servings: two buns and some pickles is not enough. The food is great but I needed more of it!’


Edward Franklin wholeheartedly recommends the one-woman show Fleabag:

‘If you’ve seen and enjoyed the sort of plays Phoebe Waller-Bridge has performed in before, you shouldn’t expect more of the same here. This is a far cry from ‘Rope’, which she appeared in at the Almeida in 2009, and a million miles away from ‘Hay Fever’, her 2011 West End debut. And it’s absolutely bloody brilliant.

It’s possible that whether or not you find “Fleabag” shocking will depend on your age. As a 19-year old student with friends who talk about sex frankly, openly and occasionally explicitly, it felt as though there was more to connect with than to be outraged by in this hour-long monologue, in which Waller-Bridge’s nameless young woman weaves together the story of the death of her best friend with that of her own multifarious sexual exploits.

On an ideological level, Waller-Bridge’s play serves as an exploration of modern feminism, and of the line between “sexual liberation” and “sluttiness” that so occupies contemporary debate. Crucially, none of this discussion is so foregrounded as to make the work too explicitly “about” anything in particular, and you’ll struggle to weigh up all of the ideas going on at the time anyway, because you’ll be laughing too hard. Because it’s really, really funny.

That’s down not only to Waller-Bridge’s script, but to her remarkable performance, which veers between sarcasm, smut and sass with consummate style whilst rarely letting up a breakneck pace. She’s sort of awkward, and sort of awful, and the wonder of Waller-Bridge’s portrayal is that it leaves the audience unable not to like her, however dark the twists and turns of her story become.

Director Vicky Jones’ intelligent use of sound design ensures that we are constantly reminded that this is a story of London today, and that oughtn’t to be underestimated. This is a piece of theatre which – as well as being almost dangerously enjoyable – is fundamentally about the people and attitudes of now; and to do that subtly and authentically is a harder job than most can manage. “


Claire Davies tried a RIB Voyage and liked it:

‘Had an absolutely exhilarating experience this morning on the Rocket with Tom and Tom. I have never had an experience like this, and can’t wait to go again and take my son. It was a perfect morning and the views and thrills were amazing. The soundtrack was fab and really made a difference. I would really recommend this to everyone. I had no idea what to expect as it was part of a “team bonding day” and I hadn’t booked it, but it literally blew me away.’



Laura keeps going back to Saigon Saigon in Ravenscourt Park:

‘One of our favourite locals – I’ve eaten here on almost a weekly basis for a few months now. Food is consistently fresh, packed with flavour and authentic. Pho, five-spice chicken, pork vermicelli salad, lemongrass prawns or chicken and fried spring rolls are among our regular choices. reasonably priced and delicious!’

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